Many business owners will tell you that the key to their success is resilience. With economic turmoil, supply-chain disruptions, severe weather events and now, the reality of a pandemic, it seems the threats to small business just keep growing. The good news is that you can mitigate those riskswrites Daniel Sandaver, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Codafication.
By working with the right insurer and having a strong business continuity plan, you can ensure your business can navigate the impacts of an unexpected crisis and thrive during uncertainty.
Starting with the basics, work with a broker you trust to recognise the nitty-gritty details of the coverage you need. They should take the time to understand your entire business model including turnover, staffing, structure, etc. A great broker will help you minimise the threat of risks and help you to identify ways to protect your business as it grows.
Of course, getting the right coverage for a great price is the starting point. From there, your strongest defence is going to be a future-focused insurer. A modern insurer is one that prioritises the customer experience and who is committed to digitisation. This means that they have the tools and resources to support you during any kind of crisis.
What you should be looking for when choosing smart business insurance
Ensure your coverage includes business interruption insurance
Make sure that you have a plan for the unexpected, whether that’s theft, fire, or floods. Business interruption insurance will ensure that you can keep running during a crisis or cover your ongoing expenses so that you can recoup quickly.
Does your insurance safeguard against cyber threats?
Sometimes, you’re just one dodgy link away from a cyber incident. Small businesses are prime targets for phishing email scams or, if you work in a high security industry, your highly valuable data is a prime target.
It’s imperative that you have a strong cyber security policy to protect your business. There are two parts to this. First, you need to ensure best practices are being following internally, and that your team has the correct training and systems in place to drive security. Secondly, if you’re working in an industry where data management is important, partner with an insurer who will protect you if you do ever experience a breach of data security.
Protect your intellectual property
If you’re inventing or creating anything, I’d highly recommend you consider patent insurance. That way, someone can’t infringe on a patent you’ve got or steal copyrighted material. It’s a fast-paced, competitive landscape and innovation happens quickly. Many large and established organisations are opportunistic and will challenge emerging businesses for your copyright. If it comes to it, you need a policy that will fund a legal case. Otherwise, you risk ending up in an expensive David and Goliath battle.
Create a succession plan
As a business, one of your most valuable assets is your team. It’s not something we like to think about, but what would you do if one of your primary executives was suddenly unable to work? Or, what if you were unable to work yourself? In any business, you need to have a plan of how you’ll continue operating if the unthinkable happens. A vital component of this is Key Person Insurance. This will ensure that you can maintain profitability and cover some of the losses incurred.
If you’re the Director of your business, you won’t be covered under most statutory insurances if you injure yourself on the job or outside of work. It’s worth investing in personal income protection which will support you while you’re recovering, particularly if you’re the primary income earner for your family.
Create a distributed workforce
A fundamental part of any business continuity plan, is ensuring that your team can continue working from anywhere. This need could be driven by incidents such as a pandemic, as we’ve recently experienced, or because a natural disaster has affected your place of work. Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you can pivot quickly.
This can include making sure you’re using cloud-based tools, instead of having everything be dependent on on-premises software or tools. You can also empower your team to continue work remotely with digital communication channels, such as video conferencing platforms. If you offer a physical service, you may want to consider how you could pivot your offering to be online or remote.
You may also want to invest in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for remote telephony. VoIP enables people to call using the internet instead of typical phone service. This enables call centres or customer support teams to work from their desktop on a softphone (digital phone) rather than a physical phone next to the desk. If you have a large customer-facing team, this is essential to ensure operations can continue. During the pandemic, I saw entire call centres go down because everything was on-premises and required physical infrastructure. They didn’t have time to pivot during rushed closures, which disabled their business operations.
Work with a digitally-enabled insurer
If you do ever need to lodge an insurance claim, it’s already going to be an emotionally charged and stressful time. To make the process as smooth as possible, choose to work with a modern insurer who has a digital portal for lodging claims. This is the key to fast, effective insurance support.
Modern insurers also use technology to complete claims assessments remotely. This means that your claim will be processed up to two weeks faster, which can be critical when you’re trying to keep a business running. A remote claims process means that you get fast and accurate help when and where you need it. Amidst lockdowns, social distancing requirements, fires and flooding, a remote claims process will ensure you get a resolution quickly.
This also means that your insurer will be able to mobilise their distributed workforce in a time of need. Say for example there’s a high volume of claims being processed after a storm in your local area. With a remote claims process, your insurer would be able to assign staff from other areas of the country (or the world) to your area. So, you’re guaranteed to get the help you need, fast. No matter the volume of claims being lodged.
Safeguarding your businesses is a combination of minimising risk, preparing for crises, and making sure you’re covered correctly in your insurance policy. To minimise the impact on your business, it’s important that you start or review this process now.
Bound by red tape and restrained by legacy systems, insurers will only innovate as quickly as the market demands. Small businesses need to ensure that they’re getting the best possible support during a crisis, and that starts with choosing smart insurance. If you can get the right coverage, with an insurer that’s digitised to respond quickly during a crisis, you can ensure business continuity. No matter what 2022 throws at you.
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